Free Agency  

 

Free-agency losers: Matt Forte, Stephen Ross headline group

Associated Press/US Presswire
The 2012 free-agency frenzy didn't really benefit (from left to right) Mark Sanchez, Stephen Ross and Matt Forte.

Being a loser isn't as simple as it sounds.

There's the loser who can't get a date, or good grades, or have any friends. There's the loser who has no ambition in life and will amount to no good. And don't forget the loser who gets that label because he can't handle the simplest of tasks and always screws them up. Finally, there are the ones who get that loser tag because of bad things that just seem to happen to them for no apparent reason.

Boys, you all have a home here. Because NFL free-agency losers of the last couple weeks take many shapes and sizes. So who are they? Kill the headlights and put it in neutral ...

Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross: Ross isn't the guy who orders a pepperoni pizza and instead gets a pineapple one delivered. He's the one who orders the pizza and the delivery man never shows up at his house. Let's see, a year ago he couldn't get Jim Harbaugh or Kyle Orton. He follows that up with whiffenpoofing on Jeff Fisher, Peyton Manning and Matt Flynn. And now the Dolphins might not be picking high enough to get QB prospect Ryan Tannehill. Miami should be a place that resembles Kohl's on Black Friday -- when they open their doors, free agents should just spill in. But they don't. And that's not going to change because you can't change the owner. Get ready for a lot of 6-10's in coming seasons.

New York Jets QB Mark Sanchez: I don't blame him for not really saying anything during Tebow Time, because whatever his opinion was, it would be spun negatively. "I love this move." Wait, how can you not be ticked off? "I hate this move." Wait, can't you be a leader with a positive message? Sort of like the conversations I would have with my grandfather when he would yell at me for not taking out the garbage: Every answer I gave would be wrong. But this much is clear: Sanchez is now being put in a position to fail by his team because anything short of a Tom Brady-type season could cost him his job. It's obvious he's being slowly phased out.

Cleveland Browns: Their quarterback plans have been coming along like Kim Kardashian on the red carpet. Whoa, the Redskins moved ahead of us for RG3? Flour bomb! Wait, Matt Flynn looks nothing like Matt Schaub. We can't sign this guy. Flour bomb! Now, we love Colt McCoy and are thinking of moving down in the first round. Boy, that's some sort of endorsement for McCoy. What could be a less convincing compliment than that? (Editor's note: Joke about the Republican Party primary season has been removed.) The Browns needed a franchise player and not only have they not gotten one, they may not even take one in the draft. How can you sell that to your fan base? Whose jerseys are they going to buy this season? "Well, I guess I'll get that Hanford Dixon throwback I always wanted." Cut it.

Chicago Bears RB Matt Forte: Not only did his contract situation get worse without a long-term deal, but Chicago brought in a time share/replacement in Michael Bush. "Hey Matt, you can either play or not play. It's entirely up to you." Why would you even come back to the team at this point? If I'm him, I say I'm done and demand a trade. As said by the guy who Gene Hackman replaced in "Hoosiers": It's one thing to get naked and run out in the snow to howl at the moon, it's another to do it in my living room.

Bears RB Michael Bush: Wait, he's a loser, too? At just $7 million guaranteed, yup, he is. Well, not just him, but all of the free-agent running backs who thought greener pastures and fat contracts awaited. Peyton Hillis would have gotten more money if he became an athletic director at a Boys & Girls Club. Mike Tolbert wasn't happy splitting time with another running back in San Diego. Nope. He headed to Carolina, apparently deciding that sharing the ball with multiple backs -- for now -- was his best career path. The value of the running back has never been lower than it is right now in the NFL. Teams just don't care if they have a great one. They'd rather have two or three guys who can do just enough.

Soy un perdedor ...

Lombardi: Market conclusions
With the free-agency frenzy winding down, Michael Lombardi reviews notable action on this year's open market. More ...

New York Giants: They can win Super Bowls all they want, yet all the conversation and attention still goes to the Jets: The underachieving younger brother who always knows how to smile for mom and dad juuuust the right way. After hearing about the Jets' scheduling a press conference for Tim Tebow, owner John Mara joked that "the David Carr press conference will be tomorrow, too." But that's the Giants. They're as arrogant as anyone they criticize. The one-liner was funny, but all Mara did was come across as someone taking a cheap shot at a player who hasn't done anything but win and try to be a role model. And he doesn't even play on the team Mara owns. Owners are supposed to be above that.

Santana Moss and Michael Crabtree: The Washington Redskins brought in so many new receivers to help the passing game I think I even saw Charlie Brown's name in the transactions column. Meanwhile, in one San Francisco offseason, Crabtree has gone from "We drafted him to be our No. 1 target in the passing game" to "Hey, if Michael Crabtree is our fourth-best option, we have a pretty good passing game." I wouldn't be surprised if Moss is released or dealt near draft day, and Crabtree could be a year away from the same fate. Cut it.

Linebackers: DeMeco Ryans is traded to the Philadelphia Eages for 10 bucks worth of skeeball tickets. The only thing I can think of is that the Houston Texans thought he might break down physically in a year or so and wanted to move him while they could, because otherwise he's a baaaaad man. Stephen Tulloch led the Lions in tackles in 2011, shopped himself around in free agency and wound up ... re-signing with Detroit. That's like when Jerry Maguire held up the fish and asked who was coming with him and only Dorothy Boyd answered "Me!." All Curtis Lofton did was average 10 tackles a game for the Atlanta Falcons last season, and he was told, Thanks, but no thanks. Good luck in New Orleans! Maybe teams figure, "Well, SOMEONE is going to lead our team in tackles no matter who we put out there, so why spend more than we have to?" I could say linebackers are the new running backs, but they're both sort of screwed at the same time.

Arizona Cardinals: Hey, I've been on Mars for the last month. Can you bullet point what's happened in the offseason for Arizona for me? Sure!

• Missed on Manning.
• Missed on Reggie Wayne.
• Gave Kevin Kolb seven million more dollars.
• Let go of Jay Feely, Levi Brown and Early Doucet.
• Then re-signed all of them.

New guys? Let's see. Um, William Gay? Adam Snyder? Don't worry, I'll send you links to their Wikipedia pages so you can find out who they are. Hey, I know it's all about keeping an organization together, but this wasn't a 13-3 world-beater of a team that just needed to fill a hole or two. They needed an infusion of talent. It's still the San Francisco 49ers' division. The Seattle Seahawks got better. The St. Louis Rams have added weapons for Sam Bradford (and have a boatload of draft picks to continue doing so). How does last place in the NFC West sound?

Soy un perdedor ...

Jason Smith writes fantasy and other pith for NFL.com daily. Talk to him on Twitter @howaboutafresca. He only asks that you never bring up when the Jets play poorly.

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